Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Hop on the Bus

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Metro is the subway system serving Washington DC and the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. I live near the Vienna Metro Station, which is the western terminus of the Orange Line, in Virginia. For the last two and a half years, I have commuted into the District. It saddens me to report that during that time, I have usually driven my car to the Metro parking garage. This past summer – under the pressure of $4/gallon gasoline, $4.50/day parking fees, the green movement, and extra weight – I began walking to and from the Metro. This worked well for a month or so, before plantar fasciitis set in. I simultaneously replaced my dress shoes and sought the care of a podiatrist. Total out of pocket costs for the shoes (about $140 for two pair of Clarks) and my co-insurance ($90) far exceeded the savings that I experienced in exchange for the foot ailment. No good deed goes unpunished.

My neighbor encouraged me to take the bus, citing the convenience and low cost. For whatever reason, I resisted. But then I learned that the afternoon ride only cost 35 cents and I could pay with my SmartTrip card. What could be easier? But I was still not convinced.

When I first began working after college, I took the Metro bus from my apartment complex near Fairfax Circle to the Ballston Metro station (at the time, Ballston was the western terminus of the Orange Line). I remember taking the bus once on the weekend, traveling from Fairfax Circle to Seven Corners for shopping. It was purely a curiosity; I could have easily driven. Aside from this time, over 20 years ago, I do not recall ever riding a Metro bus.

Eventually, gentle prodding by my neighbor combined with curiosity prompted me to try walking to the Metro in the morning and taking the bus home in the evening. Well, I’m sold. Waiting for the bus in the evening, I have been lucky that the weather of the past week or so has not been horribly cold here. We’ll see how I feel during a snow or a cold snap.

Coincidentally, this week, I had to pick up one of my cars from a shop in Springfield VA that I just recently began using. I took the Blue Line to the Franconia/Springfield Station. I think I could have gotten the “courtesy shuttle” from the shop to come and pick me up. But I decided to take a cab instead. The cab driver had on some rhythmic music and I asked him what kind it was. He replied that it was “Ghanian”. I told him that it sounded “happy”. My fare was just under $10 and I gave the cabbie $13. I hope this was a reasonable tip.

It dawned on me that it has been many years since I have been in a taxicab. I was in a cab in Albuquerque NM on a business trip about 8 years ago. Before that, I occasionally took a cab between my house and Dulles Airport.

I do not ever recall taking a cab around town here to destinations other than the airport. Thus, the simple cab ride to the shop was a first of sorts for me.

Buses and taxicabs. I know they are a common form of transportation for many. But for me – as odd as this may sound – they are a recently discovered transportation alternative. I think I will try to stick with the bus, at least until I get a more environmentally friendly car.

Green Car

Green Car